“Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss”
'Won’t get fooled again' by The Who
Bernie Sanders predicts that the policies agreed in the Democratic Party would make Biden become the "most progressive president" since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He urges his progressive supporters to do everything in their power to elect Biden and ensure that he is the “most progressive” president since FDR.
Biden claims to be another Roosevelt who was credited of lifting America out of the Great Depression by the enactment of series of government legislation. If only that were true. FDR’s reforms failed to fix America’s economy. It was the coming of war that revived production demand and restored profits to business. Unemployment fell because America economy started to prepare for war. The national income per capita in 1938 was only 76 per cent of that in 1929. There was another economic crisis in 1937. The industrial index plunged downward. And in October of that year, FDR said “Steer toward the coming war and make all preparations accordingly.” The 1937 depression was halted and reversed, not by any normal upswing of the economic cycle, but by the speeding up of war preparations not only in this country but throughout the world. It was not until the US entered the Second World War four years later that the slump finally came to an end. That is a simple lesson from the Roosevelt experience.
To build a movement strong enough to defeat the power of the capitalist system will be a protracted struggle of historic proportion and will not be resolved in one election cycle. It will take a sea change in American thinking and understanding. Perhaps, and all socialists hope it is the case, we may well be moving into a good time to talk about revolution and socialism. But real change requires thinking beyond an individual campaign. The tendency of liberal reformers to place all their eggs in the Democratic basket and all their hopes in single leaders such as Joe Biden has prevented genuine social movements from gaining momentum. Revolution requires changing the political landscape. It means banishing the fantasy that the world’s problems can be solved if we just vote for the right Democrat. Eugene Debs understood that the social ills demanded an independent workers’ movement with a strong electoral component. The virtual disappearance of such ideas and goals in the last few generations is one of the reasons for the triumph of the right wing. Real system change is always called too radical to be taken seriously.
Lesser evilism encourages a race to the bottom. The future doesn’t depend on Biden beating Trump. It depends on all of us who support political revolution. Do we want to change direction or are we content to rubber-stamp the political status quo every election day? If the former, then it’s imperative that we build a socialist party now. We must cease feeding the beast. Biden is part of the system, part of the problem. Running against Trump, Biden assumes the role of the lesser evil. However both have all expressed racism and nativist and views which put them all beyond the pale – whether or not they really believe what they say. But it should also be noted that on many issues – among others, coddling the banksters and corporate profiteers in Wall St, overseas interventions, and even U.S. policy towards Israel and Palestine – Trump’s views, compared to Biden’s, are much the same. Biden helped push through the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which bore down severely on low income families, disproportionately affecting communities of color and led eventually to a leap in incarceration rates spawning an industry of private, for-profit prisons. As corporate America grew in strength and political power Biden continued to pander to the wishes of Wall Street.
The only way we can end this lesser evil political circus is by offering an alternative – don’t play the game, don’t be forced into a false and hypocritical ‘choice’. The cardinal rule for the World Socialist Party of the United States is to tell the truth.
The Democratic Party is not our friend. Nor can it be reformed to do our bidding. The purpose of the Democratic and Republican parties is to keep us enslaved. To pretend otherwise is to sow confusion and carry the ball for the other team. Nothing has held American working people back more than organized labor’s obeisance to the Democrats. Biden doesn’t want to replace or overthrow capitalism. He thinks capitalism can be fixed or tamed with reforms and regulation. By contrast, we socialists understand that the essence of capitalism — private ownership of industry and resources and the exploitation of labor by appropriating surplus value (profit)— is antithetical to democracy. Biden turns a blind eye to the lack of economic democracy that is the very hallmark of the capitalist system.
If you intend to vote for the lesser evil on November 3rd, go ahead but vote or no vote, all that matters is what you’re going to do for the other 364 days to help bring down this global system of oppression and exploitation. Instead of a candidate who says, ‘I want to talk to you and tell you what I’m going to do for you.’’, working people ought to be saying to politicians, ‘Well, you come and listen to us…we’ll tell you what we want, and you can try to persuade us that you’ll do it; then, maybe we will vote for you”.
People should get together and discuss, talk about, and argue about what they want. That’s a very different form of democracy.